The Indian equity benchmarks fell sharply on Thursday on the back of weak global cues. The Sensex fell as much as 626 point and Nifty 50 index briefly tumbled below its important psychological level of 15,700. Global stocks fell tracking a slump in Asia amid a widening crackdown on the tech sector in China and concern over the strength of the country's economic recovery, while oil prices also sagged on supply uncertainty. ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Reliance Industries, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Hindustan Unilever and State Bank of India were among the top drags on the Sensex.
The Sensex declined points 486 or 0.92 per cent to close at 52,569 and Nifty 50 index dropped 152 points to end at 15,728.
European markets dropped ahead of European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde's news conference where it is set to release a strategy update that could see it allow for higher inflation. Germany's DAX was down 1.3 per cent, French CAC40 index dropped 1.9 per cent and FTSE 100 fell 1.53 per cent.
Back home, selling pressure was brad-based seventeen of 19 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange ended lower led by the S&P BSE Metal index's over 2 per cent decline. Banking, Energy, Finance, Pharma, Auto and FMCG indices also fell around 1 per cent.
On the other hand, Power and Utilities indexes managed to close higher.
Mid- and small-cap shares outperformed their larger peers as S&P BSE MidCap index declined 0.25 per cent and SmallCap index ended on a flat note.
Tata Motors was top Nifty loser, the stock fell nearly 4 per cent to close at Rs 317. JSW Steel, Hindalco, ONGC, Tata Steel, ICICI Bank, Sun Pharma, State Bank of India, Dr Reddy's Labs, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Cipla, Hindustan Unilever and Grasim Industries also fell between 1.5-3.4 per cent.
On the flipside, Tech Mahindra, SBI Life, Eicher Motors, Bajaj Auto, HCL Technologies and IndusIndBank were among the notable gainers.
The overall market breadth was negative as 1,754 shares ended lower while 1,422 closed higher on the BSE.